[photograph: Joanna Forsberg (nzepc)]
Just a quick post to point out the existence - unveiled yesterday, in fact! - of the NZ Poet Laureate blog on the National Library site. Michele tells me she's going to try to use this site as a way of providing quick links to interesting poetry events and information, as well as taking an occasional trawl through the Turnbull's digital archives, so it should be a good place to go for updates on such matters in future.
And, whatever one thinks of star systems - or of the whole institution of Poet Laureate, in fact (personally I feel NZ poetry needs all the help and publicity it can get right now) - I'd like to put on record here that I think Michele was a brilliant choice as first (or sixth, depending on how you count) incumbent.
The nzepc has done a huge amount for poetry in this country, and there's no way that site would ever have got off the ground without her enthusiasm and acumen. When you add to that the innovative off-the-page poetry teaching she's now doing at the university, the student cafe readings she helps organise, and her own status as an poetic innovator, I think she's going to be a very hard act to follow.
(Incidentally, just to make my own role in these matters a bit clearer, I think I can perhaps foreshadow here that Pania Press is planning to publish Michele's next book of poems, hello and goodbye, later in the year. That really will be one for the collectors and poetry lovers, so watch this space for further details ...)